Here are summaries of some recent Computing product reviews. Each product is rated on a scale of one to four, with one computer indicating poor and four indicating excellent:
BatteryWatch Pro. For IBM PC-compatible laptops with hard disk or RAM drive and DOS 3.1 or later. $49.95. From Traveling Software, 18702 North Creek Parkway, Bothell, Wash. 98011. (206) 483-8088.
Laptop UltraVision. For IBM PC-compatible laptops with EGA- or VGA-compatible screen. $69.95. From Personics Inc., 63 Great Road, Maynard, Mass. 01754. (800) 445-3311.
BatteryWatch Pro can monitor the battery life of your laptop or notebook computer, to tell you how much time you've got left before that $4,000 box turns into a lifeless doorstop. This new version of the program supports more models and has a generic version that can offer some help to any PC-compatible laptop. Laptop UltraVision gives you a larger cursor, more font choices, an option to see more lines on the screen and color-to-gray-shade conversion choices for any laptop with an EGA- or VGA-compatible display. I think both utilities are well worth their prices, especially for any regular user of a laptop or notebook computer.
Ease of use:
Here are reviews of shareware programs for IBM and compatible computers. Shareware programs are available from computer bulletin boards and computer clubs, or this column will send you copies for a small charge. Users try them, then pay a fee to register them if they decide to use them regularly.
Quicktrax Employee Rollcall. If you're looking for a program that will keep track of essential information about your employees, schedule them, track attendance and benefits and give you enough reports to warm the heart of any accountant. . . . and if you're on as tight a budget as the rest of us, here's a program that costs $39 and acts as though it should cost $500.
Quicktrax, for IBM and compatible computers, has enough menus to handle a smorgasbord of personnel tracking chores. It has context-sensitive help screens, which means that if you get stumped in the middle of a chore, help is just a keystroke away. And there is password protection. To register, write to Discovery Graphix, P.O. Box 344, Byron, Calif. 94514. In addition to the shareware version, an expanded professional version is available for $89.
Tiger Key. Here's a handy utility for IBM-compatibles that lets you program your function keys to perform DOS commands, such as DIR A: for folks who need to look at directories in their A drives. If you have 10 function keys, you'll be able to program 10 functions from a DOS prompt. Tiger Key is in the public domain, which means the authors don't expect to be paid, even after you've tried it and decided you can't live without it. (For copies, send $4 to Shareware, P.O. Box 7031, Long Beach, Calif. 90807. Or call (213) 595-6870. A catalog-on-a-disk of shareware programs costs $1. Please indicate 5 1/4 -inch or 3 1/2 -inch disk.)